Three Quick Ways to Snag Last Minute Online Gifts


We’re approaching the last week of the year. You know what that means!

Hopefully – it means a flood of online gifts and donations through your digital donation portal.

There’s a lot of money in play for deserving nonprofits in these last two weeks of the year.

But be careful – there are also many donors who will visit your site but fail to complete their gift.

We call it “shopping cart abandonment.”

How sad – you don’t want donors deserting your donation page BEFORE they complete their gift, do you?

Here are my quick and dirty tips to help you capture the hearts . . . and the gifts . . . . of lovely donors who visit your website at year end:

1. Set your donation page to be the main landing page for your website.

Many of the large nonprofits do this.

Look what happens when I ran a search on Charity: Water during the holiday season a couple of years ago – it’s a donation page, not a “home” page:

Here is the landing page for CharityWater. It's really a donation page!

When your donor searches for your organization so she can make some online gifts, what does she see? Your overly complex home page where she has to hunt for the link to donate?

or —

Does she first see your actual donation page that is popping up first?

Just think – anyone who visits your site the last 2 days of the year is probably there for only one reason:  to make a generous gift.

So be smart. Take down that complicated home page for just two days – December 30 and 31.

Or take it down for the entire next two weeks like Charity:Water does.

Make it easy for your donor.

Urge her to join in the cause right there up in front.  Don’t make your donor work to make her gift to you!

2. Put a charming image on your donation page.

One of my pet peeves is the dry, boring donation page. Some practically discourage online gifts. 

It’s like nonprofits go all out telling a great story and showing their amazing impact. And when they ask the donor “to click here to donate: . . .”

Where does the donor go? To a pretty boring, dry page – full of boxes, and looking overly complicated.

PLEASE make your donation page happy and encouraging.

Make it full of color.

Put a charming picture on your page that represents someone your nonprofit helps.

Here’s what makes a great picture:

  • A close up of someone looking directly at the camera. This creates an intimacy and a directness that is really powerful.  Have your subject look right at you when you take the picture.
  • No clutter in the picture. So don’t include a picture of a group of people. It’s too busy for a website.

3. Use an encouraging headline at the top of the donation page.

Here are some actual headlines at the top of nonprofit donation pages. Alas, they are so boring!

Support Us


Your support is vital to all of our efforts. 

(this is not donor-centered – it’s organization-centered!)

Instead, make it encouraging.

Use words that spur the reader on with enthusiasm!

Like this warm, fuzzy donation page header from the World Wildlife Fund:

The World Wildlife Fund's donation page has a terrific image and header.

Bottom Line: Get ready for online gifts!

Your donation page may be the most important page on your entire site.

Make it work FOR you – not AGAINST you.

Make it welcoming to your donor – and you’ll be rewarded with her generosity!